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More Realignment Musings

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Diamondbacks don’t want to move to AL. Bah! Who cares?! They came into existence in 1998. Their opinion matters not!

Calcaterra’s arguments about the logistical problem(s) of adding another Texas team to the AL West make a lot of sense, too. The Mariner already travel more miles than almost every other team pretty much every year; some (most) years they are first in miles traveled, other years they are second, depending on what sort of interleague nightmare the Marlins end up having to deal with (last year,  because they played AL West teams, the Marlins traveled the most miles, but pretty much every other year the Mariners do).

Calcaterra then asks if realignment is just a Trojan Horse method of universalizing the DH? Gosh, I hope not. Not that I like watching pitchers hit, since they generally don’t, but rather I like watching managers try to use their benches, though thanks to Tony LaRussa-influenced bullpen construction, they don’t have much to work with these days.

[Parenthetical Rant–Curse LaRussa and his “defined bullpen role” stuff that makes bullpen management kind of a paint-by-numbers routine. And how come announcers who always pine for the old pre-pitch count days also say that guys in the bullpen need to know their roles? Huh? Back when they didn’t use pitch counts they brought in bullpen aces in high-leverage situations rather than just in ninth with a three-run lead and no one on base. I tell ya’, announcers really take the cake for failing to consider the lather that passes their lips. (I like Bert Blyleven, but he’s as guilty as anyone for talking out both sides of his mouth: starters should finish what they start ’cause he did it, but bullpen guys HAVE to know their role. Read The Long Season, read Ball Four, those guys had no idea when they’d be used…..) *sigh* 3 shots and a beer later and I still wish LaRussa would swallow the lemon he’s been sucking on since about 1980 and retire…so. damn. overrated.]

Here is a link to Goold’s piece, “The Problem with Perpetual Interleague Play,” which Calcaterra references. Note, however, that the short response to its contentions is this: how about we add two roster spots, instead? Granted, LaRussa would immediately add two more relief pitchers so he can make the sixth to ninth innings last even longer, but other teams might rationally use them to extend their benches and add additional hitters so that NL teams will be DH-capable. The problem with Goold’s piece is that while he makes a bunch of decent arguments about the problem of perpetual interleague play, he leaps to the conclusion–without a shred of evidence–that it’s all just a ploy to force the DH on the NL. Huh? It’s not completely terrible, but it’s pretty weak and weasley. While he isn’t writing for Foreign Affairs or an appellate court, you gotta’ figure he could at least reach his conclusion with some evidence or at least a decent argument.

Joe Lemire at Sports Illustrated doesn’t like abolishing divisions. Divisions, he says, “have a sense of identity and purpose.” This argument makes some sense on its face. Apply it to other circumstances, however, and you begin to see its inherent weakness. For example, in the former Yugoslavia, ethnic nationalism supplies “a sense of identity and purpose.” Uh, not so positive. It is an appeal to “the ways things have been” rather than to any intrinsic necessity. He then says that divisions heighten rivalries. As though there were no rivalries before divisions. Sorry, pal, but rivalries between the Cubs and Cardinals and Yankees and Red Sox persisted long before anyone in the Commissioner’s Office even dreamed of divisional play. The rest of his piece nicely demolishes the problem of persistent interleague play, so I’ll that be.

Here is an example from 2008 on why divisions suck and insert a imbalance (and irrationality) into the game that should be corrected.

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Written by jjvedamuthu

June 14, 2011 at 14:40

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